Square Bases, or Round?
There’s a question roiling the wargaming community, my friends.
You hear it whispered in the friendly local gaming store.
Graffiti and posters proclaiming it can be seen on the streets.
Everywhere, those rolling dice will look you in the eye and demand that you choose. CHOOSE!
Square bases, or round?
Okay, maybe it’s not quite that big of a deal, but since Games Workshop revamped Warhammer into Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, and did away with providing square bases with their minis, it’s been something that’s out there in the community.
Warhammer Fantasy Battles, which is that Warhammer was previously called, required that figures be on square bases so that they could fit together, shoulder to shoulder, rank after rank, in a regiment-style formation. All models in a particular unit moved together in a phalanx/maniple and fought that way, and frequently players would put them on specially-designed movement trays to keep them together. All the while, Warhammer 40,000 had their models on round bases, fighting in more of a squad-based infantry milieu, the type of thing you’d see in modern war movies.
The two systems were separate, and folks seemed pretty okay with that.
Then, in 2015, WHFB was altered to Warhammer: Age of Sigmar. In addition to a simplified rules set, AoS switched to the round base system favored by 40k.
The Age of Sigmar rules explicitly noted that the base of a model wasn’t part of the model itself, and was just a means to keep it from falling over; measurement was to be from model to model. It was also noted that, while new models would be supplied with round bases, not square, models already on square bases could still be used. No problemo.
Well, that didn’t sit well with some, who preferred the old rules and the old square bases. Controversy ensued in some quarters. And, while in AoS rules, again, you can use square-based minis and round-based minis together in the same game, private tournament organizers in some cases have seen it differently, and, I’ve been told, have required all miniatures in AoS tourneys to be round-based.
This seems to be less of an issue for other companies and games. I’ve seen some minis sold by the same company with square or round bases, or no bases, apparently without rhyme or reason.
About a year ago I wanted to purchase a Games Workshop Vargheist model (it’s a big skeletal bat dragon thing) and special ordered one from my FLGS. I got a call from the owner, who asked if I wanted the WHFB version, instead of the newer AoS version.
“What’s the difference?” I asked.
“Well,” he said, “It’s the same model. Just the base is different. But the newer one with the round base is $20 more.”
I went with the older version. I didn’t care.
I’m fine with mixing and matching bases. I’m a casual gamer, and I don’t particularly find it offensive to have Squares and Rounds in the same army.
However, I know some folks do. I’ve seen photos of people on Twitter removing minis from nicely-done square scenic bases and rebasing them on rounds. Hey, if that’s your particular poison, that’s fine.
In the end, though, it’s supposed to be fun. Bases on minis are just a means to an end: Rolling dice together for a good time.
So whether you’re a square-baser, a round-baser, or you have some of each, enjoy it, and let others have the base of their choice.
About the Author;
Peter Kuebeck is a writer, gamer and award-winning mini-painter living in the Midwest. He wages a constant battle against the ever-growing tide of unpainted minis in his basement, and occasionally GMs role-playing game sessions with friends. Catch his hobby shenanigans on Twitter at @popculturecube